SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies . Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627). London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed. Blount at the Charges of W....
Estimate: US$2,000,000 - US$3,000,000
Price realised: US$6,166,000
SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies . Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627). London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed. Blount at the Charges of W. Jaggard, Ed. Blount, I. Smithweeke, and W. Aspley, 1623. THE FINE AND COMPLETE DRYDEN-PULESTON-BEMIS COPY OF SHAKESPEARE'S FIRST FOLIO, THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK IN ENGLISH LITERATURE, AND ONE OF THE TWO FINEST COPIES REMAINING IN PRIVATE HANDS Median 2 o (324 x 208mm). 454 leaves: COMPLETE (see collation below). Various paper-stocks from French mills and one unwatermarked. Roman and italic types 82 mm, larger cursive for running titles, set by at least nine compositors. Double column, 66 lines, headlines and catchwords, pages box-ruled, woocut head- and tail-pieces, Shakespeare's engraved portrait by MARTIN DROESHOUT in third state, as usual, and measures 197 x 165 mm. BINDING: late-17th- or early-18th-century English blind-tooled brown calf over pasteboard, sides panelled with double fillets, gouges and dots, floral tool at the angles, outer and center panels of the sides sprinkled in black, intermediate panels plain, sprinkled spine with raised double bands (lettering piece removed from spine, but its impression "SHAKESPEARS PLAYS" visible underneath; spine-ends, joints and corners restored, some wear and minor stains to covers, endpapers renewed with early sheets [foolscap watermark, initials LM countermark]); red morocco pull-off case by H. Zucker of Philadelphia. THE FIRST FOLIO OF SHAKESPEARE CONSTITUTES BY ANY STANDARDS THE MOST IMPORTANT BODY OF WORK IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS IN ALL OF LITERATURE. FIRST COLLECTED EDITION of Shakespeare's plays, known as THE FIRST FOLIO (STC 22273). It contains the FIRST APPEARANCE IN PRINT OF 18 PLAYS: Tempest , Two Gentlemen of Verona , Measure for Measure , Comedy of Errors , As You Like It , Taming of the Shrew , All's Well That Ends Well , Twelfth Night , Winter's Tale , King John , Henry VI part 1 , Henry VIII , Coriolanus , Timon of Athens , Julius Caesar , Macbeth , Antony and Cleopatra , and Cymbeline ; none of the reprinted plays show corrupted or mutilated text from 'bad quartos', a couple were set from good-quarto editions, half a dozen are the result of quarto texts collated against play-manuscripts, while the majority were newly edited from complete manuscripts that either varied or in most cases greatly improved the text of earlier editions. Three plays now accepted as genuine were not included: Pericles , Two Noble Kinsmen , and Sir Thomas More . If the plays of William Shakespeare are truly, as they are often termed, immortal --possessing a timeless power to move and to transform the lives of readers and play-goers; portraying a rich panoply of human types and universal situations with insight, sympathy, intellectual depth and coruscating wit; expressed in poetry whose originality has immeasurably enriched the English language itself--then surely it is not surprising that the First Folio itself, the book in which his plays were first collected, has attained immortal stature. In the nearly four centuries since his death, Shakespeare has become "the first universal author, replacing the Bible in the secularized consciousness" (Harold Bloom). The bibliographer William Jackson in his 1940 commentary to the catalogue of the Carl Pforzheimer Library, succinctly denominated the First Folio edition of Shakespeare as "incomparably the most important work in the English language," a book which "will always be valued and revered accordingly." An earlier scholar, Henrietta C. Bartlett, the introduction to her 1923 catalogue of Shakespeareana, termed the 1623 folio "the most valuable single book in the English language," and so it unquestionably remains today: the undisputed keystone of any serious collection of English literature. In their prefatory address ("To the Great Variety of Readers") in
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